October 3, 2022
Ecology

Welcome ChatEcology!

Teaching ecology is difficult. For many biology teachers, our last formal education on ecology may have been a session involving a quadrat and some daisies, or perhaps looking at some algae on a tree with a compass if you had an adventurous teacher. Even though we are biologists, we may not have the same depth of understanding of ecology that we have with the sliding filament theory, for example. Then there’s the non-specialists teaching biology… But that’s what ChatEcology is for.

We will be helping you develop your subject knowledge and help each other develop the pedagogy to deliver the best ecology lessons we can, which will hopefully be as good as the rest of the curricula for Key Stage 3, 4 and 5. 

However the chat is a little different. Each month awesome volunteers from the British Ecological Society’s Teaching and Learning Special Interest Group will guide us through a journal article to consider the research and how we can apply facets into our own delivery. With the majority of the SIG coming from higher education, the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding and fill in the gaps has never been easier.

Each month we will send you an article for you to read in as much depth as you like, at the end of the month, we will get together on Twitter (follow ChatEcology here) and chat about the science and how/if we intend on developing our delivery of the topic discussed, or perhaps where the ideas can be dropped into other themes. Hopefully we will be able to bounce loads of ideas off each other and let each other know how the implementation went.

We intend on covering some key themes: ecosystem structures and processes; nutrient cycling (carbon and nitrogen) including decomposition; waste management; pollution; climate change; sustainability (including forestry, peat, fish, agriculture); feeding relationships and food web modelling which will have applications across the key stages in the UK (and further afield), however if you would like to request a topic, just let us know and we will happily pick it up.

So how do you get involved? Hopefully you have already completed the survey: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfpKDAqvXM5VeuIMZ17sTAi1b8zXpFGEOGMyHcAl7m6BZL1TA/viewform?usp=sf_link and submitted your email address so we can send you the article each month. If you want to take part at a later date, just drop us a DM with your email address and we will send the next article to you.

Chat Ecology, an online journal club for teachers. How cool is that?!

Jon has been teaching for 15 years and is currently Head of Biology at Beaulieu Convent School. Although Jon studied Pharmacology at university, he was fortunate to have had the ecological experiences aiding his father in collecting data who was a Principal Freshwater Ecologist. Jon currently sits on the BES T&L SIG committee as a representative for secondary schools.

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